“Ride-Off” by Mickie B. Ashling— Three Grown Children

ride off

Ashling, Mickie B. “Ride-Off” (Polo #2), Dreamspinner Press, 2013.

Three Grown Children

Amos Lassen

Preston Fawkes and Konrad Schnell are finally alone with each other having put everything else aside. They need to get to know each other once again but the outside world won’t let them stay secluded for long. They had to go back to Texas to face reality. It is not always easy to deal with business, family and romance at the same time. It did not take long before they faced challenges. Konrad’s son, Bandi, wants to play polo, Preston’s son “Sasha” is working to succeed on the Broadway stage and Paloma, Preston’s daughter has a mind of her own.

Raising one child is not easy but when two men have to deal with three very different children as they are also getting their lives together is no picnic. There are old secrets in each family and they all come together at a family reunion at Thanksgiving in San Antonio.

I found it helped to have a look back at the first book about Preston and Konrad. I was reminded of not only how they met but was reminded of the challenges they had to deal with early in their relationship. They managed to deal with what they were dealt and the separations from each other that they had to endure. When they finally have a change to enjoy each other, their children remind them that they are not alone. So now that they are together, there is a feeling of guilt about not having enough time for their children and the post-traumatic stress disorder raises its head once again. The men must realize that the life they want together is in front of them and they cannot look back. Granted, they lost time in the past but they are now at the point where they can be who they want and out in the open. They do not yet see that and they suffer because of it.

Bandi has his problems as well. He is with Ned who is older than he is even though each is well aware of the age difference between them. Ned has been like a father to Bandi who now wants to exert his independence. He also wants to perfect his polo skills. It took his being tempted by another man for Bandi to realize that he had the best in Ned. He faces a decision that can change him and his future forever.

Sasha is also having problems with his boyfriend, Jeremy. When he was younger, he had to face trauma and it has stopped him from being able to commit to someone else. He feels that he needs to be independent and able to use that independence. Jeremy has supported him emotionally because he is attracted to him. When Sasha is haunted by the past, Jeremy is there for him. Because Sasha felt that he had been ignored as a child, he wants and needs attention now and becomes seriously depressed when he does not get it and often has fits. He does just what his father is not to do—look back. Jeremy with his love of color and flamboyance is just the man he needs.

There is yet another child—a girl who has been a secret and hidden away but now she wants to live an open life. She also wants to play Polo. She uses people and will use her body to get what she is after. She loves her family but there is something about her that caused me not to like her. She has no resolution in this book and I could have cared less.

There are many characters but Ashling, as I have said several times, is a terrific writer. She knows where she is going with this story and she knows how to take us with her. I am having a hard time thinking about what she will come up with next.

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